When Karl Reader includes dishes made with beer on the menu, he doesn’t have to go far for a ready supply.

As head chef at the Dragon Bar and Bistro, in Skipton’s Copper Dragon brewery, he is surrounded by beer, and makes the most of it.

The talented chef has created a number of main meals and snacks incorporating a number of popular ales – there’s lamb’s liver and onion in rich Black Gold gravy, pan-fried chicken with a splash of Challenger IPA and Pippins Yorkshire Rarebit – a special cheese-on-toast Golden Pippin ale and a tomato relish.

Karl, 44, heads a four-strong team in the kitchen at the modern, comfortable bistro, part of the £4 million brewery on Snaygill Industrial Estate, Keighley Road, which opened last November.

“We get really busy, cooking up to 70 covers every lunchtime,” says Karl. “And we cook breakfasts too.”

Karl and his wife Marie were drafted in for two weeks to help set it up – but ended up staying. “It is a really, really interesting place to work, and a great project to be involved with. The people who installed the brew house came over from Bavaria so I cooked Hungarian goulash for them,” says Karl.

The couple formerly ran the Bay Horse at Fence near Burnley for more than 12 years. It was there that they got to know Steve Taylor, the managing director of Copper Dragon Brewery. “He was one of our customers,” says Karl. “And his partner Ruth worked with Marie at one time.”

A former psychiatric nurse, Marie inherited her talent in the kitchen from her parents, both bakers. “She’s famous for her cheese and onion pie,” says Karl. Now Marie wows diners at the bistro with mouth-watering desserts including sticky toffee pudding, jam roly poly and bakewell tart.

Karl always wanted to go into catering. “I watched my mum cook, and at school I did domestic science and enjoyed it – so I decided that I wanted to take it further,” he says. He trained at catering college in Blackpool, where his family then lived.

While training, Karl worked part-time at a well-known seafood restaurant, the Trafalgar in Fleetwood, going full-time after qualifying. “I learned such a lot and had a good time there – it really spurred me on to become a chef,” he says. “I’m still in touch with the owners.”

The time Karl spent there also allowed him to hone his skills in cooking fish. “I would say that I am a fish cook – that’s my speciality.”

He is enjoying his role at the Copper Dragon. “It is an open-plan kitchen – you can see into the restaurant, so we have to be on our best behaviour,” he laughs. “It is a great environment, I can see the customers coming in and enjoying their meals, and I can chat to them.”

Where possible, ingredients are sourced from local suppliers, “But we don’t ram it down people’s throats,” says father-of-two Karl, who names Marco Pierre White as his culinary hero.

Off-duty he enjoys walking his labradors or going for spin in his open-top Westfield sportscar.

Dragon Bar and Bistro, Copper Dragon Brewery, Snaygill Industrial Estate, Keighley Road, Skipton BD23 2QR Tel. (01756) 702130